McAtee’s debut YA novel propels readers into a world of monsters, conspiracies, and tangled relationships.
Seventeen-year-old Ember has never fit in. It doesn’t help that her mother died when she was little and that her father is an alcoholic who seems to hate her guts. Her father’s sudden death leaves her alone and facing a future in the foster-care system. At his funeral, Ember spies a mysterious stranger who seems to be following her. When she returns to the cemetery later that night, he reappears and threatens to kill her—until Tristin and Kai, Ember’s long-lost cousins, sneak up and bash him on the head with a shovel. Ember’s life takes a definite turn when her cousins tell her that they’re “reapers” with powers related to death and dying. It turns out that they live with a pack of werewolves in a town of mostly supernatural inhabitants, ruled by witches and druids. Her life gets even stranger when she realizes she too has powers—she can raise the dead as zombies. With the help of her cousins, their werewolf friends, and Mace, the creature who nearly killed her, Ember sets about unraveling the mysteries surrounding her mother’s death. McAtee’s tale is a cut above most attempts in the popular supernatural YA genre. Her characters are considerably more complex than the norm, which makes them far more believable, despite their superpowers. She also treats love scenes with a light hand, preferring to bring down the curtain when things get really heated and allow readers to use their imaginations. Although the book’s ending seems a bit rushed, it does provide a satisfactory conclusion to the many plot threads that McAtee introduces throughout the tale.
An excellent choice for fans of supernatural tales, featuring a tough but lovable heroine.